House starts deliberations on Charter change

House starts deliberations on Charter change

UP FOR REVIEW The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez, convenes on Monday to constitute itself into a Committee of theWhole House as it starts deliberating on the amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. —HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PHOTO

UP FOR REVIEW The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez, convenes on Monday to constitute itself into a Committee of theWhole House as it starts deliberating on the amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. —HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PHOTO

The House of Representatives on Monday constituted itself into a Committee of the Whole House to deliberate on Resolution of Both Houses No. 7 (RBH 7) to undertake “much-needed and long overdue” amendments to the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri also on Monday reaffirmed President Marcos’ position that the Senate take the lead on Charter change. In that regard, the House has to adopt the Senate’s earlier Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 as RBH 7.


The leaders of Congress were at Malacañang on Monday to witness the President’s enactment of two priority measures. (See story on Page A3.)


The senators also met with Mr. Marcos to discuss Charter change, including the aim of having a plebiscite on the amendments held alongside next year’s midterm elections.

According to Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II, a resolution by both chambers may be submitted to the Commission on Elections before the Holy Week break.
Speaker Martin Romualdez, as chair of the Committee of the Whole House, said this body “will allow us to act with dispatch on this crucial matter, and enable every member to freely contribute in the discussion of this most important proposal.”

“We would like to have more flexibility in our economic policies and be able to compete with other countries for foreign investments by removing the constitutional restrictions and allowing Congress, through legislation, to set the terms and conditions for foreign investments in vital sectors of our economy,” Romualdez said.

“The times are changing. We need to adapt if we are to become more competitive globally, invite technological advancement, and provide a more conducive economic platform where people have wider opportunities for growth,” he added.

‘Only economic provisions’

The proposed economic amendments would tackle Articles XII, XIV and XVI of the 1987 Constitution regarding the limits to foreign participation in public utilities, educational institutions and the advertising industry.

“The Filipino people need this change. We owe it to our constituents and the generations to come. We have to make this happen now more than ever. And with your support and help, and the trust of the Filipino people to the great work we are doing in this august chamber, we can make it happen,” Romualdez said.


He also noted that, “Sadly, while we at the House of Representatives are doing our very best to advance the much-needed upgrade and facelift of the economic provisions of the Constitution, we are being accused of being against pushing for these essential reforms.”

“Categorically, we are denying this unfounded and baseless accusation,” Romualdez said.

“Now, to dispel doubts that the efforts of the House of Representatives in pushing for the amendment of the economic provisions of the Constitution is politically motivated, we are adopting all the three proposed amendments of the Senate version of Resolution of Both Houses No. 6, in toto,” emphasized the Speaker.

“This should [assure] the public that Congress is only touching on the economic provisions that need to adapt with the changing times. There is absolutely nothing in RBH 7 that hovers on any political provision of the Constitution,” he said.

Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe was tasked to set the rules on the proceedings by the Committee of the Whole House, which would convene on Monday to Wednesday and even up to Thursday beginning next week.

Voting separately

“This reform in the economic policies of the country will redound to the benefit of the Filipino people who will be afforded more opportunities for education, employment, investments and services from government,” Dalipe said.

In Malacañang, Zubiri told reporters that “We had a very nice meeting with the President [and] he reiterated that… the Senate [should] take the lead, and he asked the House leaders to wait for [our] output and that they should just adopt [it].”

“He [also] reiterated that he only wants [amendments to the] economic provisions… And it was made very clear… that there should be no political amendments,” the Senate leader said.

READ: House to hold 3 hearings on Cha-cha per week

According to him, Mr. Marcos noted that the government would be able to save its resources by synchronizing the plebiscite with the midterm elections.

“[The President] asked [Sen. Juan Edgardo] Angara to look at the legal possibilities [of placing] a rider question on the back page of the ballot about the amendments to the Constitution,” Zubiri said.

He said it was up to Angara to come up with a time frame for the hearings on constitutional amendments by the Senate subcommittee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, which Angara heads.

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Asked what Mr. Marcos thought regarding how Congress should vote on the amendments, Zubiri said, “The President is very clear [on] that. [We’re] voting separately.”
In his interview with reporters, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said, “What’s important for us is to cover all the issues and discuss all the details, not the speed of its approval.” INQ

TAGS: Cha-cha, charter, House

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